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CAF Champions League Round-up: Hearts of Oak Win Big, Oilers Stumble as Simba Shine

The 1/16th round first leg of the African Champions League took place over the weekend, with some teams securing comfortable leads into the return leg.

Egyptian clubs recorded mixed results after title holders Al Ahly were held to a 1-1 draw by Niger’s US Gendarmerie Nationale (USGN) and Zamalek beat host Tusker 1-0 in Nairobi.

Both clubs are chasing elusive international glory as the Red Devils are hunting for eleventh African title while Zamalek will be looking to snatch the trophy from their Cairo’s rivals.

Al Ahly, who are record African champions, are expected to overturn the result in the weekend in Cairo after they threw their lead to Moumouni Djibril Diori’s strike in the last fifteen minutes of the game.

Tunisian full-back Ali Maaloul dispatched a 19th-minute penalty to put Ahly in front but on the 75th a sluggish defending from Al Ahly saw the Nigeriens salvage a precious draw at home.

USGN coach Zakari Yao Ibrahim said that his charges will focus on Al Ahly’s weaknesses in the second leg in Cairo.

“Ahly played a good game in the first half but we played well in the second half. We missed many scoring chances but we finally scored the draw,”said Ibrahim.

Before the game we were not familiar with Ahly’s tactics so they managed to take the upper hand in the first half but we dominated them in the remaining 70 minutes.”

“Now that we watched Ahly’s tactics in a full game and we discussed them well and discovered their weakness points, we will count on it in the 2nd leg game to qualify for the next round,” Ibrahim added.

Four-time Africa winners Zamalek are paving their path to the rest of the competition after beating Kenyan club Tusker 1-0 on Saturday, but it will be hard to judge the Egyptian side’s current form when juxtaposed with the Kenyan champions.

Zamalek lone goal came from Tunisian international Achraf Bencharki just three minutes into the second stanza in a match played at Nyayo National Stadium.

The White Knights coach Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron gave credit to Tusker despite picking a win in Nairobi.

“They proved why they are Kenyan champions. They are very organized team especially defensively and they gave us some hard time. We did not prepare very well for this game but we will do better ahead of the return tie for sure,” the experienced gaffer said in post-match interview.

Ghana’s Accra Hearts will also fancy their chances of reaching the first round after they beat Wydad Casablanca of Morocco 1-0 on Sunday.

Isaac Mensah’s first-half goal earned the Phobians victory in the first round, first leg fixture at the Accra Sports Stadium.

Liberia champions LPRC Oilers face an uphill task to progress to the next stage of the competition after slumping to a 2-0 defeat to Morocco’s Raja Casablanca on Sunday.

Houssein Rahimi managed to open the scoring in the 22nd minute, before Mahmoud Benhalib doubled the mark at the stroke of the half-time in a match played at Grand Stade de Marrakech.


Experienced campaigners Simba SC of Tanzania recorded valuable away win after beating Botswana champions Jwaneng Galaxy 2-0 in a match played at National Stadium in Gaborone.

Ugandan midfielder Tandeo Lwanga opened the scoring on third minute before captain John Bocco added second three minutes later.

Five-time African champions TP Mazembe played to a goalless draw against debutants Amazulu of South Africa same as Al Ittihad of Libya and ES Tunis of Tunisia who ended their fierce clashes happy with hopes for something better come the second leg.

Zambian side Zanaco and ES Setif of Tunisia suffered shock losses to Al Merreikh of Sudan and FC Nouadhibou of Mauritania.

Tony Edjomariegwe, Ramadan, Wagdi Awad Abdalla scored Al Merreikh goals in the 49th, 75th and 79th minutes respectively.

The pressure will be on ES Setif to win in the second leg in Tunis so as to stay alive in the competition.

Guinean representatives Horoya AC didn’t play it cool with the Malian champs Stade Malien as their effort was rewarded by a lone but vital goal at Modibo Keita Sports Stadium in Bamako.

GD Sagrada Esperanca, Asec Mimosas, Mamelodi Sundowns, Sudan’s Al Hilal , Athletico Petroleos of Angola will also be expected to advance after impressive results in the first-legs.




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